How to Implement an ERP System in 6 Months or Less
ERP implementation can be daunting for any business, as it ties into many aspects and processes of the company. A well-developed implementation plan is key to success in any large-scale project. Breaking the implementation down into stages with specific goals in mind can increase your chances of success.
No matter what type of journey you’re embarking on, it’s always important to plan ahead and budget for your needs. The same is true for an ERP implementation project. By taking the time to establish clear direction, scope, and structure from the start, you can avoid major issues down the road.
What is an ERP Implementation?
Implementing ERP can be a daunting task for any business, large or small. ERP systems integrate many divergent functions across the company, such as financial management, human resources, sales, manufacturing, inventory, and procurement. A successful ERP implementation can deliver significant benefits in terms of increased productivity and efficiencies, while simplifying the complexities, the bottlenecks, and the manual workarounds.
However, because ERP systems automate and streamline so many different processes, they can also be very disruptive to a business that is not prepared for them.
The organisation needs a successful ERP implementation, so carefully defined requirements, and determining how processes can be redesigned to maximise the new ERP system’s functionality to the advantage of the business. Planning and a structured implementation plan are required for success.
ERP Implementation Strategy
An implementation strategy defines how a company or organisation will execute on a product. This often involves changes to business processes, development workflows, and organisational structures. An implementation strategy describes:
Key approaches to ERP implementation
The best approach to follow depends on a company’s business objectives, budget constraints, available resources, and time sensitivity. There are several well-known implementation strategies that include big bang, phased-rollout, parallel adoption, and a combination of phased-rollout and parallel adoption. Each approach has its inherent advantages and disadvantages, so you will need to understand each so select the one that best caters to your requirements.
a. The Big Bang Approach
With the Big Bang approach, a company deploys its entire ERP system at once for all business functions on a single go-live date.
In order to successfully complete a big bang approach, a lot of careful planning is required. This is because software is typically implemented on a set date, and any mistakes can have serious repercussions for all aspects of business. Therefore, it is essential to get things right first-time round.
b. The Phased Approach
In this approach, ERP implementation does not have to happen all at once. It is staggered by business process, department, location, or manufacturing facility. This approach makes it easier on your resources and can help you ensure a successful transition to the new system.
With a phased approach, it takes more time to implement but there is a higher degree of safety because errors will not be impacting all business operations. The phase approach can put less pressure on the implementation team with less issues to worry over.
c. The Parallel Approach
Implementing a new ERP system parallel to running legacy systems minimises implementation risks. Should critical errors arise with the new system, you can default to the old one.
Running two systems at the same time can create technical difficulties, such as data synchronisation problems. It also increases implementation costs since you will need both implementation and IT experts throughout the process.
The Two Most Common Methodologies
ERP software implementations traditionally follow a linear, “waterfall” progression. However, requirements often change, making it impossible to strictly adhere to this methodology.
Despite this, many ERP implementations still operate under this basis, with specific steps that must happen in a certain order. The waterfall ERP implementation methodology phases may look like this:
The agile delivery method offers many benefits over the traditional waterfall approach, including increased flexibility and speed. With agile, project plans are divided into short intervals with solution testing occurring at the end of each sprint. This allows for adjustments to be made as soon as problems or changes occur, instead of waiting until the end of the project.
• All stakeholders across the business are seeing all aspects of the solution as it’s built throughout the sprints
• Contributes to better solution ownership and acceptance)
• Better software that meets stakeholder’s prioritised needs
• Faster time to value by releasing new features every day
• Quicker recognition of ROI (Return on Investment) with less waste and incremental funding
• Higher customer satisfaction as feedback is incorporated during delivery
• Greater visibility, confidence, and trust between stakeholders
Our FlexSafe methodology framework incorporates experience and best practice to ensure the four key pillars of business are taken into consideration and delivered:
• Cost: reduce cost by automating tasks and processes where possible, enabling stakeholders to engage in higher-value activities for the organisation. Implementation cost is also reduced by delivering training to stakeholders during deployment rather than running time-consuming sessions at the end of the project
Revenue: effective use of revenue by ensuring full visibility of all financial data in real-time, allowing for quick and meaningful decisions. This will have relevance when consolidating information from multiple entities, providing a real-time, global view of information
• Efficiency: increase efficiency by connecting data sources across the organisation, allowing full visibility and transparency to stakeholders to enable decisions and actions. By ‘bridging the gaps within the business and ensuring that processes are mapped to ‘best practice’, the solution allows an increased efficiency within the business units
• Risk: reduce the risk of missed or inaccurate data by connecting all relevant systems and providing accurate real-time information to the right stakeholders in the right format through customised KPI dashboards
Seven Phases of FlexSafe Agile ERP Implementation
1. Discovery Phase
After agreeing on a sprint project plan, our team will deliver a list of user stories and business requirements (including business process maps) to be implemented. This is what we call our discovery phase – it is when we get a better understanding of your needs and how we can best meet them.
The sprint delivery phase is the most important part of the agile process, as it is when all the NetSuite processes, configurations, product showcases, training, data migration and go-live support are delivered. This is a critical time for the project team to finalise all user stories and product backlogs, as well as to plan for any data migration and user adoption strategies.
3. Project Governance – Steering Committee
The Project Steering Committee ensures project delivery aligns to the agreed business outcomes. The Committee will provide oversight and direction to the project team and will be the ultimate decision-making body for the project.
4. Data Migration
Data migration is a critical part of any digital transformation. By definition, it involves moving data from one system to another, which can be a complex and time-consuming process. A well-defined migration strategy is essential to ensure a successful outcome.
During discovery, our team will collaborate with you to define a comprehensive migration strategy. This will enable us to migrate data early on in the project and populate clean data sets using pre-defined import templates.
The management team for this ERP project meets on a weekly basis. The reports submitted during these meetings include ‘progress to plan’ and ‘earned value’ charts which detail the visibility of the current situation, as well as highlighting any key risks, issues or other events that have occurred.
At the beginning of each process sprint, all members of your team are expected to evaluate the NetSuite solution. This will help ensure a successful start to the next sprint.
After your ERP system is up and running, it is important to keep users happy and make sure the business gets the full benefits. To do this, the project team stays involved but starts focusing more on gathering feedback and making adjustments. Some new development or configuration may be required as new features are added. You may also need to train new staff on how to use the system.
How long does it take to implement an ERP system? The answer may surprise you!
In this video, Robert Jurcec reveals the truth about the length of time it takes to implement an ERP system.
@robertjurcecokx #erpmyths > 🥱 #erpsolutions take years and years and are too complex to implement quickly, especially if you’re in a niche market like oil & gas or banking & finance 🏦. Well not anymore, in this video I discuss how with the assistance of templated solutions designed for specific industries, #erpimplementation timelines have been reduced – significantly. #erp #erpsoftware #mythbusting #technology #digitaltransformation ♬ original sound – Robert Jurcec
“The OneKloudX team was a pleasure to work with while developing our NetSuite integrations. They were able to work across multiple time zones and jurisdictions to deliver a solution that met all of our USA requirements into our existing NetSuite instance. Their expertise has been invaluable in our transition between banks throughout the international business acquisition, and the consolidation of financial and operational data from QuickBooks into NetSuite. With their knowledge, agile approach, staff training programme, and ongoing support we were able to get started quickly. Without OneKloudX and NetSuite we would not be where we are today.”
– Grant Robson, Financial Controller – Redbubble
If you have questions about ERP implementations
Are you considering an ERP solution? OneKloudX has a team of certified NetSuite consultants who can help. Our FlexSafe™ methodology ensures that every NetSuite implementation is meticulously executed to minimise risk and deliver improved productivity and revenue growth. We have a proven track record of success in business access, process expertise, and providing scalable cloud solutions. Contact us today to learn more.
We are excited that you are considering learning more about NetSuite. Our Senior NetSuite Consulting Team Members are passionate about helping business leaders realise the full potential of this powerful software. Give us a call at 1800 155 683, or schedule a call through our convenient booking calendar.
Cloud ERP systems are becoming increasingly popular for businesses of all sizes. As the leading cloud ERP, NetSuite offers many benefits for businesses that choose to implement it.